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Old 09-10-2011, 03:28 PM
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Default Judging Life Forms?

DISCLAIMER: [Because this thread was moved into General and then moved back]

The reason that this is in the spiritual section is because I want this topic to be discussed from a non-scientific point of view. This thread is basically regarding the meaning of life in terms of how we look at the rest of the entities on this planet.


I've recently moved from the 12th year of my school to the 13th, and got a new teacher at the same time. Her views heavily collide with mine, and I couldn't be more happy as I've got a new series of perspectives to debate with, and perhaps further gain views.

However, there is one thing that she said whilst we were discussing the value of what is called 'sentience' and placing humanity above animals. I mean no offence to organised religious texts as this is purely my opinion. I do not mean in any way that this is *fact*, but I personally believe that every life form on this planet is equal.

It sounds cliché, doesn't it. Striving for equality. But honestly, I've always found it hard to understand how one can see another life form on this planet as lesser, when there are no objective set of rules. As humans, we end up making our own. The reason I'm placing this in the spirituality section is because often 'spirit' and sentience seem to coincide some way or another in discussion.

I want to quote Einstein. This doesn't make my belief any more valid at all, but he gives a good example of what I'm trying to say.

http://api.ning.com/files/jXAMZVLJgB...C/Einstein.jpg

As humans, we *defined* sentience. We were the ones who said that *We have control. We can watch television instead of looking for a mate. Ergo, we have free will and are greater."

I disagree. What is the value of sentience? We are "better", because we have the passive ability, almost from birth. But we seem to have decided this as the *core decider*.

What about the creatures that can see Infra-red, a different form and frequency of light itself? Do we simply ignore their *born with it* ability?

If we judge an animal by it's ability to make free-willed choices, of course we're going to seem greater. We've already made sure that we are *in* the parameters.

I'm not sure how to make my views clear, but I hope this short post has gotten some form of the point I was trying to portray across. After all, this is the debate I will be taking to my teacher the next time I see her. If I can't make it understandable through text that is easily deleted and rewritten, then I don't know how I will through set-in-stone speech. : p
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Last edited by Mune; 09-11-2011 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 09-10-2011, 06:43 PM
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Greetings

This is one topic I feel quite strongly about, so I shall put my most humble opinion out there I too am of the belief that no life form is superior or inferior, we can all do many things that make us unique and strong. Einstein's quote summed it up rather well I believe.

Nature gives each creature something that makes it able to survive (or thrive). The wolf is very fast, can do you up a treat if it gets close enough and can work as a team for the greater good (ie getting a meal). The deer, is born with amazing hearing and a sense of smell, can run very quickly and have powerful legs, perfect for breaking the jaw of the thing thats trying to bite you. Humans are a tricky one, we have quite poor senses compared with many beasts, we are relatively weak, our bodies aren't adorned with claws or anything we can use to kill in fact our only redeeming feature is our intelligence and with that we can innovate and make the things we need to live.

I don't think sentience really comes into it (and if it does, then I would argue many creatures on Earth are sentient, one has only to observe wild animals to see this) To be sentient is to be aware, to feel and percieve as I understand it. I find it hard to believe that anything that can live by hunting, bringing up young, tending to wounds and generally keeping itself alive isn't sentient.

One argument I frequently get thrown at me in this kind of discussion is that we're superior because we can do things like write books, build machines, compose music etc. The things we make, may be tools to help us live, or to objects to bring us pleasure, they all come from our intelligence, the one great gift Nature gave us. On Earth, all creatures have to use the things they already have to survive, since we dont have claws or bloody great big fangs to hunt, we invented the bow and arrow, then guns. Because we can't run very fast or far without getting fatigued we learned how to ride horses and went on to invent cars. Because we can't see in the dark we invented night vision, and the list goes on.

Last edited by Marvellous Chester; 09-10-2011 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mune View Post
I disagree. What is the value of sentience?
Genericism. Adaptability. "Everything you can do, I can do better." We are at the top of the food chain because, given enough time, we can duplicate and surpass all other feats in nature. That is the value of sentience, and it is an incredibly valuable thing indeed.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:47 AM
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I remember when I did studies of religion back in high school we looked at the bible and the message was contradictory. On one hand humans were to be shepherds of the land and animals and care for them as they are all created and loved by God. However on another passage it was said that God gave humanity the dominion over the land and the creatures on the earth.

Personally I think that every animal has a spirit/soul and that spirit is no smaller or bigger then humankind, we should all treat each other as equals because every animal contributes to the eco system or the great chain of life and therefore they should all be respected on the same level as ourselves no matter how small or insignificant the animal might appear to our eyes. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:43 AM
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To be fair, that Einstein quote has absolutely nothing to do with different species. At least, that's not how he intended it.
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:52 AM
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All Animals Are Equal, by Peter Singer

You guys might be interested in that. An short philosophical essay entitled "All Animals Are Equal". I saw that person give a speech last year; interesting at the very least.

Personally, I agree on a very philosophical level... but for all practical purposes I would have to disagree.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mune View Post
I've recently moved from the 12th year of my school to the 13th, and got a new teacher at the same time. Her views heavily collide with mine, and I couldn't be more happy as I've got a new series of perspectives to debate with, and perhaps further gain views.

However, there is one thing that she said whilst we were discussing the value of what is called 'sentience' and placing humanity above animals. I mean no offence to organised religious texts as this is purely my opinion. I do not mean in any way that this is *fact*, but I personally believe that every life form on this planet is equal.

It sounds cliché, doesn't it. Striving for equality. But honestly, I've always found it hard to understand how one can see another life form on this planet as lesser, when there are no objective set of rules. As humans, we end up making our own. The reason I'm placing this in the spirituality section is because often 'spirit' and sentience seem to coincide some way or another in discussion.

I want to quote Einstein. This doesn't make my belief any more valid at all, but he gives a good example of what I'm trying to say.

http://api.ning.com/files/jXAMZVLJgB...C/Einstein.jpg

As humans, we *defined* sentience. We were the ones who said that *We have control. We can watch television instead of looking for a mate. Ergo, we have free will and are greater."

I disagree. What is the value of sentience? We are "better", because we have the passive ability, almost from birth. But we seem to have decided this as the *core decider*.

What about the creatures that can see Infra-red, a different form and frequency of light itself? Do we simply ignore their *born with it* ability?

If we judge an animal by it's ability to make free-willed choices, of course we're going to seem greater. We've already made sure that we are *in* the parameters.

I'm not sure how to make my views clear, but I hope this short post has gotten some form of the point I was trying to portray across. After all, this is the debate I will be taking to my teacher the next time I see her. If I can't make it understandable through text that is easily deleted and rewritten, then I don't know how I will through set-in-stone speech. : p
Hmph.

Maybe I'll come over some day and fill her house with tarantulas.

On topic, every living thing, even within the same species, are unique to some extent. Toads have sticky tongues, Chameleons change color, Pistol Shrimp can shoot water pressure bullets, and Hammerhead sharks can sense electromagnetic fields.

Aside from that, we're all "made of meat". The same building components, just rearranged in infinitely many ways. That is equality, at the deepest level.

Besides, I'd like to see you teacher attempt to explain to a hungry Komodo dragon why she's better than it. It's argument would probably be that she'd only be better with some salt and pepper.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
Hmph.

Maybe I'll come over some day and fill her house with tarantulas.

...Besides, I'd like to see you teacher attempt to explain to a hungry Komodo dragon why she's better than it. It's argument would probably be that she'd only be better with some salt and pepper.
^^^win.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:25 AM
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Gahahaha

On topic,
I wholeheartedly agree. I view all life as perfectly equal. Humans, dogs, mosquitoes... each and every living being is deserving of the same amount of respect. But, you know, that doesn't mean that nothing should ever be killed - because if that was the case, we would all die. Other animals kill each other all the time, and it's not that I have a problem with.

But I think we should treat all living beings with the same respect. Only kill another living being if it is absolutely necessary for our survival - on the same grounds as it's done in nature all the time. Not kill mosquitoes, flies etc on the grounds "It's just a fly". Not putting ourselves higher than other living beings just because we view ourselves as "more sentient". Etc, etc.

Ah, I may have come across as overly preachy, but that's my opinions on the subject regardless.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:28 AM
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Life isn't equal - nothing is. However, all life shares the same basis, and that gives something in common.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:31 AM
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"Life is equal" can mean a multitude of things. I'd say life is equal in regards of how much it should be respected.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:39 AM
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...Why was this thread moved into General Discussion?
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:41 AM
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That's odd, I did not do it.

Considering the topic is discussing the value of life from a spiritual/non-scientific perspective... I'll move it back.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eltu View Post
On topic,
I wholeheartedly agree. ...that doesn't mean that nothing should ever be killed - ...
But I think we should treat all living beings with the same respect.
^^^same here. I won't talk about "who is more (?) sentient" cos I'll start on the flow of energy within all things etc. - & this won't be a valid argument for your teacher, imho. But "respect" is a very important issue.

I work in an MNC manufacturing rendering equipment, & the attitude towards animals may well make me a vegetarian. I never thought of it till I started working here. The very definitions make so much difference in attitude. Say "cows" - & we're talking about a different specie. Say "livestock" - & it doesn't seem to deserve any respect anymore, "it is here for us to eat". A live being becomes a soulless product if only one changes the name.

I say: "thanks for the food, your death was not in vain, your spirit is free to go" even if I buy frozen meat from a supermarket. I didn't kill that particular cow, less, hunted it - but it was once a different being with all it implies. At least saying "thanks" is showing some respect. i learned it from my scientific/pagan grandma, a strange mix of Mo'at & Dr. Grace, Avatar simply reminded me of this short thanksgiving.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:12 AM
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...and that is the most important reason I'm a vegetarian.
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